Can You Pump Breast Milk With Nipple Piercings?

Mothers who have nipple piercings and want to breastfeed often wonder if the piercings will interfere with the nursing. While there are certain aspects that you need to consider, piercings shouldn’t stay in the way of you nursing your baby. But it is important to respect certain norms and aspects that we will talk about as follows.

You can breastfeed your baby even if you have pierced nipples, as this doesn’t affect the milk supply or the nursing activity. Keep reading to see what you should keep in mind as you nurse your child if you have nipple piercings!

Can you pump breast milk with nipple piercings?

Can You Pump Breast Milk With Nipple Piercings?

Having nipple piercings will not stop you from breastfeeding your baby or pumping. Nipple piercings will not impact your breastmilk[1] production as this production takes place in the mammary glands.

  • Your piercings will only be attached to your nipples. They will not damage the mammary glands, which eliminates any impact on your milk supply. Your mammary glands will start producing breastmilk for your little one, regardless of your nipple piercings.
  • However, nipple piercings could impact the milk flow. This is not always the case as it depends where the nipple is pierced and if it blocks any milk duct.
  • If ducts in the nipple are damaged or injured, the milk flow might be reduced or even cut, which could add difficulties to nursing.

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How To Pump with Pierced Nipples?

How To Pump With Pierced Nipples?

Pierced nipples are not a problem when it comes to pumping, but there are a few aspects that you should consider to do it safely.

  • First of all, it is recommended to remove the piercing before you start pumping. Most likely, you will pump several times a day to keep your milk supply at high parameters. Pumping with your piercings on puts you at a higher risk of infection as well as inflammation.
  • You can choose to remove the piercings only when you are pumping or to let them out for several days at a time, as long as you make sure they don’t close up.
  • Once you removed the piercings, put them in a sterile container with saline solution so no bacteria will get on them. Also, it is essential to remove both piercings simultaneously, even if you will empty one breast and then the other. You don’t want to stop in the middle of pumping to remove your second piercing.
  • Clean your breasts carefully with lukewarm water and clean cloth before you start pumping. Then, pump one breast at a time as you usually would, and make sure you use sterile containers for your fresh breastmilk.
  • When you are done pumping your milk from both breasts, rinse them and put your piercings back on if you so want.
  • However, considering that most likely you will pump again in just a few hours, if not sooner, you might not want to rush into putting your piercings on.

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Risks of pumping with Pierced Nipples

Risks Of Pumping With Pierced Nipples

Pumping with pierced nipples doesn’t expose mothers to any risks as long as the pumping is done correctly. If you follow all norms of hygiene, you will not have to worry about any potential risks.

However, if you don’t remove the piercings during your pumping sessions, you expose yourself to a risk of infection and inflammation that otherwise could be avoided.

Infection and inflammation of the nipple can be caused by bacteria or milk that gets stuck in the jewelry you are using if you don’t remove the piercings. Also, if you keep pumping with piercings on, when you rinse your breasts after the pumping session ends, you will not properly clean your piercings unless you remove them.

Also, if you pump with the piercings on, your milk might not have enough space to pass through the ducts if the piercings are blocking them.

Pumping with the piercings on could also lead to blocked ducts over time due to the milk that gets stuck on the jewelry. So, it is not only not hygienic but also unsafe to pump while you are wearing your piercings.

Therefore, it is always better to avoid pumping while wearing your piercings, so you don’t develop such conditions. If you got an infection or inflammation in one or both of your breasts, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor before the condition gets worse.

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How To Breastfeed with Nipple Piercings?

If you have nipple piercings, there are certain aspects you need to keep in mind when you breastfeed your baby. The following aspects are essential for both your safety and your child’s safety.

A) Wait until the piercing heals

If you pierced your nipples recently, you would have to wait until the piercing heals entirely before you start breastfeeding.

  • Starting nursing when your piercing is not wholly healed can cause infections and other pains.
  • The healing time for a nipple piercing can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
  • The time it takes for your nipple piercing to heal will depend not only on your body but also on how you take care of it.
  • So, make sure to follow the hygiene instructions and clean your jewelry and your piercing area regularly.

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B) Remove the jewelry to avoid choking hazards

The jewelry you attach to your nipples could easily create choking hazards that you should try your best to avoid.

  • Even if the jewelry you wear seems secure enough to not come off your nipple, it is still recommended to remove it when nursing your baby.
  • You can remove your piercing only before feeding and add it after your baby is done eating, or you can let it out for the months you are planning to nurse them.
  • Removing the jewelry completely for the nursing phase will also reduce the risk of infection.
  • You will not have to get the jewelry in and out of your nipple and sterilize it every time if you just skip wearing it entirely for the nursing months.

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C) Keep a strict hygiene

If you choose to remove the piercing for every feeding, you will have to use a vigorous hygiene routine to reinsert it to your nipple.

  • It is essential to wash your hands before removing and adding your nipple piercing. Also, carefully clean the jewelry with an antiseptic solution and allow it to dry thoroughly before you reinsert it.
  • You will have to do this every time you remove your nipple piercing to make sure you avoid infections and stay away from any complications.

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Risks of breastfeeding with nipple piercings

Even if nipple piercings don’t necessarily involve problems for nursing mothers, there are still certain risks that you need to pay attention to.

A) Infection risks

Outside of a proper hygiene routine, infection risk can be high if you have nipple piercings.

  • This risk becomes even more significant if you are a nursing mother. This is because you can develop complications such as Mastitis[2] and inflammation or breast abscess.
  • In addition, this risk is higher if you are removing the nipple piercing for each feeding individually.
  • To reduce these risks to a minimum and even eliminate them, you will have to have strict hygiene and make sure you clean both your nipple jewelry and your hands frequently.

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B) Choking hazards

The choking hazard[3] is one that your baby is exposed to if you choose to not remove your nipple jewelry as you are nursing them.

  • It might seem that your piercing is as stable as it needs to be, but the truth is that you can never be risk-free if you don’t remove it.
  • Besides choking, your baby can develop wounds on their lips and inside their mouth if they are not latching correctly.
  • So, no matter how you look at it, the best way to nurse your baby if you have nipple piercings is by removing the jewelry, so you don’t have to worry about such aspects.

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C) Blocked milk ducts

Your nipple piercings might or might not block the breastmilk ducts, depending on the way the piercing is done and in what part of the nipple.

  • Unfortunately, it is difficult to know how the nipple piercing will interfere with your milk ducts, so you will not know that until you try nursing your baby.
  • However, if you notice that the milk flow is reduced due to blocked ducts, you will have to remove the nipple piercings so you will be able to feed your baby correctly and with no hassle.

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Can you get a nipple piercing during pregnancy or as a nursing mother?

If you want to get a nipple piercing during your pregnancy or soon after your baby, it is essential to know that this might negatively interfere with your nursing. While breastfeeding with a healed nipple piercing might not present problems if you respect the hygiene norms, when you first pierce your nipples, you will need to allow them time to heal.

Also, since nipple piercings take several months to heal completely, most professional piercers will not even pierce pregnant women or nursing mothers. The best way to get your nipples pierced is to do it before you consider getting pregnant. This way, you avoid any complications, and you don’t have to worry about infections or inflammations.

If you have your baby and want to pierce your nipples, it is recommended to wait until you stop nursing your baby. You never know how long it will take your body to heal the nipple piercings. In addition, your breastfeeding will be impacted by this, so it is best to reduce the risks to a minimum as much as possible.

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As you can see, pierced nipples don’t interfere with your nursing radically as long as you follow the hygiene norms, the piercer will also recommend you. It is important to talk to your lactation consultant or doctor and ask them the best way to breastfeed your baby with nipple piercings. If you notice any sign of infection in your breast area, you must talk to your doctor before complications appear.

Key References
  • [1]“Nipple Piercing – Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) – NCBI Bookshelf”. Accessed September 20, 2021. Link.
  • [2]“Mastitis – NHS”. Accessed September 20, 2021. Link.
  • [3]“Baby and toddler safety – NHS”. Accessed September 20, 2021. Link.


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